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Ennahda party takes a stand in favour of President Saied

Ghannouchi now calls Saied's new measures an "opportunity for reform", moving away from an initial designation as a "coup d'état"
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PHOTO/REUTERS  -   Speaker of Parliament Rached Ghannouchi leaves the Parliament building in Tunis, Tunisia, on July 26, 2021

The leader of the Ennahda movement and Speaker of Parliament, Rached Ghannouchi, has expressed his hope that the exceptional measures implemented by Saied will become "an opportunity for reform" and that they will be "a stage of democratic transformation at a remarkable turning point". With these statements, Ghannouchi distances himself from the designation of President Saied's latest moves as a coup d'état, after he decided to suspend parliamentary powers and assume full powers under his person.

These statements represent a significant shift in the party's position, which had been calling Saied's moves to freeze parliamentary powers a "coup d'état" since 25 July. In addition to suspending parliamentary powers, Saied dismissed the prime minister, Hichem Michechi, and announced that he would assume executive powers through a prime minister to be appointed by him. 

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REUTERS/ZOUBIER SOUSSI  - Tunisian President-elect Kais Saied is sworn in at the Assembly of People's Representatives in Tunis

In recent hours, Ennahda's official website has published Ghannouchi's first statements in this vein, stating that "we must turn the president's actions into an opportunity for reform, and it must be a stage of democratic transformation". Following the Tunisian population's acceptance of Saied's new measures, the Ennahda party has decided to change its political strategy and position itself in favour of the measures adopted by the president.

Alongside this, several Ennahda youth issued an internal petition entitled "Correction of the path" in which they called on the current leadership of the movement to take "responsibility for the failure to meet the demands of the people and the understanding of the state of congestion and ferment, given the ineffectiveness of the party's political, economic and social choices and the way it handles alliances and political crises, in addition to the demand for dissolution of office".

Furthermore, MP Mohammed al-Kumani, a member of the Ennahda Movement's Executive Bureau, has stated that his party will be ready to execute "the necessary actions" to return to Tunisia's democratic transition process. 

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PHOTO/REUTERS - Rached Ghannouchi, leader of the Islamist Ennahda party

Leaders of other parties have described the decisions announced by the President of the Republic as "courageous", stressing that Kais Saied assumed "his historic responsibility to strengthen Tunisia and bring it into the context of the solution to move towards real democracy" and designating that President Saed "did the right thing with regard to his activation of Article 80 of the constitution". Alongside this, anti-Ghannouchi positions within his own party reflect the progressive collapse of his political base amid the successive splits the party is witnessing.

Samir Delou described the president's statements as "reassuring", rejecting Ghannouchi's call for the movement's supporters to "take to the streets, saying that resorting to violence and endangering the lives of Tunisians and confronting the security forces is a line".

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PHOTO/REUTERS - Supporters of Tunisian President Kais Saied gather in the streets as they celebrate after he removed the government and frozen the parliament, in Tunis, Tunisia July 25, 2021

On the other hand, President Kais Saied has denounced the efforts of some parties to "infiltrate the articulations of the state, and the Ministry of Interior in particular", pledging to confront all attempts to position themselves against the state or its fragmentation from within the framework of the law. "There is no place for anyone who wants to use the Ministry of Interior for their own personal ends.

The Interior Ministry is not a ministry for a party that secretly tries to be the perpetrator, and these people have no place in the Interior Ministry," he stressed.

He added that "the great danger that threatens countries does not come from outside, but from the fragmentation of society, fighting and some situations that do not indicate belonging to this country at all".